The date has been set for your international move. Unless you are moving from one neighboring country to the next, your international relocation to Asia most likely requires significant planning including inventory surveys, documentation processing, and a complex breakdown of ocean or air freight managed by an expert in the field of international moving logistics.
It’s natural to feel anxious to start your new routine in a new country, even if you have an expert handling all of the logistics. With a wealth of information available about important things to manage when moving abroad, technology needs when moving to Asia rank at the top.
The Asian continent is vast – and the differences within the region are marked. Living in China is a very different experience than perhaps moving to Thailand or India, and of course subject to different levels of personal technology availability. Just as we explored a small slice of technology needs for a move to Europe in our last blog, in this entry, we will tackle some notable tech needs as you venture to the Asian region from other parts of the world.
As in Europe, North America and other parts of the world, cell or mobile phone use is wide-reaching. With the exception of the US, Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, certain areas of India and a handful more, 75% of the connected world uses GSM cell networks, while those mentioned still employ a mix that includes Code Division Multiple Access (CMDA) technology. Having a CDMA networked phone could be challenging to international travel and relocation, because many of the options to migrate an older phone to be operable in a new location may not work, including using a compatible SIM card to switch your phone over for local service use in your Asian destination.
Fortunately, many provider networks and phone manufacturers are updating and expanding their offerings so more seamless compatibility is becoming a reality. Be sure to understand your phone and network plan details as well as any limitations with respect to your destination to figure out the best mobile phone options for you.
Similar to Europe, another popular option for making phone connections within Asia/Pacific regions is Voice Over Internet Protocol. You can find VOIP providers that target residential customers as well as business units in order to install this cost-effective method of international communication.
Other options for communication include apps like WhatsApp. WhatsApp is listed as one of the top three most used apps in the world and is a go-to source of staying in touch. Additional platforms like WeChat, iMessenger and more are heavily used to make contacts via text, voice, video and data sharing. Be mindful however, that in certain Asian countries and/or cities, access to and usage of these types of programs are restricted or even banned. In fact, 12 countries have banned WhatsApp alone, including China, North Korea, Sri Lanka and several locations in the Middle East.
Some of the aforementioned platforms are internet-based, and in many of the most populated areas in Asia, internet access is dominant.
As it stands, Asia represents 50% of the internet usage in the world. There is no lag in logging on in certain locations with South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore ranked in the top 10 of the world’s highest average Internet speed. Connectivity in major areas will be easy to find. There will be connection issues in the remote areas, but satellite internet services are growing to solve that issue as well.
The cost of internet service in Asia is relative – on most lists many populated Asian areas are middle-of-the-pack when it comes to package costs. Sri Lanka and Russia (which is technically a Eurasian land-mass) sport some of the lowest internet costs, while the southeastern Asian country of Laos is among the highest in cost. All of these details may be taken into consideration when assessing your technology needs when moving to Asia, especially if your work-life is dependent on internet usage.
Again, for staying connected in Asia on the go, pocket wi-fi devices can be purchased or even rented. Plus, like in Europe, many highly populated areas offer an abundance of publicly accessible wi-fi through internet cafes, lodging, restaurants and more. Unlike in Europe – which has an overarching internet proposal as part of the EU – Asian connectivity will vary according to location because there is no one unifying body creating policy.
There are internet service providers for home use in Asian countries just like in Europe, North and South America. You can shop for the best local package – and many companies offer multi-digital services that also include the installation of your TV platform as well (satellite versus cable, etc.) – thus creating a one-stop provider option. Cable TV is still widely accessed in Asian locations, while internet streaming through international subscription services, as well as local providers, is rising fast. With options at your fingertips, you can be sure to keep up on the latest episodes of your favorite programs while getting acclimated to your new home and surroundings.
Advice: whether you are renting or buying a residence, speak with landlords, trusted relocation experts, or members of local expat groups about what’s available. There may be opportunities for shared building services and other connectivity options for your convenience.
While our relocations details tend to primarily focus on mostly populated areas of the region, because of the size of Asia, the disparate economic status of many of the countries, and restrictions based on government rule, tech access could vary greatly in some areas.
For example, China, a world tech giant and the largest user of the Internet in the world, still has a number of online restrictions in place for citizens and non-citizens alike. For many locations in the Middle Eastern region, certain studies show that using a mobile device to access the internet is more dominant than logging on at home, another reason to research your best options for mobile data plans if relocating to that region.
There is much to consider tech-wise as you crisscross the globe. An international move to Asia is a milestone moment in many lives. There will much to learn in terms of language, culture, geography, customs and more. Enlisting the help of a trusted international moving expert is important so your items from home safely make the trip with you. While you may very well be moving quite far from your original destination, with technological advancements, you can now stay connected more easily than ever, making the big world perhaps just a little smaller.